Sporting News Explains New Pay Model
Sporting News, which has offered its online digital edition, Sporting News Today, to subscribers free since its launch in July 2008, switched to a paid subscription model and new online platform through digital editions provider Zinio on April 1. For $2.99 a month, users get access to Zinio's "Unity" platform, allowing readers to read the publication across a range of e-reader, mobile and Web devices.
Publishing Executive interviewed Jeff Price, president/publisher of Sporting News Magazine/Sporting News Today, on the impact of the move on readers and advertisers, the publisher's long-range plans, and the fortuitous decision to launch the new digital edition three days before the launch of the iPad.
INBOX: Why is now a good time to switch to a pay model?
JEFF PRICE: We started the research well back in the end of 2009, doing a bunch of price and sensitivity testing to determine the value proposition of the original content package. We came to the conclusion we were going to make the move and identified the [digital edition] partner we would work with for the long term, not only as we think about Sporting News in its current form, but also as we build a scalable business model [around e-readers], build something enaging for sports fans and build the brands.
We made the decision to go [live] April 1 not knowing the iPad would be launching April 3. ... We wanted to aggressively go to multiple devices and multiple platforms, and create a business partnership with Zinio to optimize various devices [and] screens. That's why we decided to make the switch today.
INBOX: Will Sporting News Today be available on the iPad right off the bat?
PRICE: As soon as Zinio's app and reader is on the iPad we will be available on there –not necessarily the first day. We will follow this with a dedicated Sporting News Today app that will [have] ... multimedia photo galleries [and] touch functionalities. Our goal is to create the best sports morning wake-up call available. We're targeting June for that launch.